Greg Lake, whose single I Believe In Father Christmas was a hit in 1975, has died as the festive season begins.
The Dorset-born musician and producer was best known for his work as bassist and singer for progressive rock band King Crimson in the late 1960s, before striking a bond with keyboard player Keith Emerson and eventually forming rock band Emerson Lake & Palmer.
Together with drummer Carl Palmer, the group broke the barriers of live performance with a theatrical first show at the Isle of Wight Festival, rocketing them to fame and the title of one of the world’s first supergroups.
Their 1971 debut album was produced by Lake and featured Lucky Man, a song he wrote while still in school and performed on an acoustic guitar.
The song, which became synonymous with Lake, shares its name with the artist’s 2012 autobiography.
In the same year, Lake, who passed away aged 69 following a battle with cancer, produced a musical event bringing together his life’s work, entitled Songs Of A Lifetime.
Skilled in a variety of instruments, Lake is credited with bringing a whole new way of guitar-playing to the stage.
He once explained: “I derived a great deal of enjoyment playing bass partly – I think – because I played it in a different way from most people at the time.
“I was frustrated by the normal dull sound of bass guitars at the time and was searching for a more expressive sound.
“I discovered the key was to use the wire-wound bass strings, which have far more sustain, rather like the low end of a Steinway Grand Piano.
“I think I was the first bass player to really use them in this way.”
Though he saw considerable success as a solo musician and later on in 2005 with his Greg Lake Band tour, he contributed to a number of groups throughout his career, such as Asia, and collaborated with stars including Ringo Starr.
Over the years he also enthralled fans with his “golden” singing voice, which Record Collector magazine once described as “extraordinary, altering comfortably between angelic and magisterial.”
Very sad to hear of the passing of our friend legendary Greg Lake
Our thoughts & condolences are with Regina & Natasha & all the family -YES pic.twitter.com/HFXegYolCe— YESofficial (@yesofficial) December 8, 2016
Months before his death on Wednesday, he was awarded the Italian Conservatorio Nicolini’s first ever honorary degree in music and lyrics composition.
While his Christmas hit is still played by fans every year, he once told the Guardian newspaper that the annual royalties cheque wasn’t quite enough to allow him to stop work and buy a home in the Caribbean.
He joked: “If Guardian readers could all please request it be played by their local radio stations, maybe that Caribbean island wouldn’t be so far away – and if I get there, you’re all invited.”